Beyoncé switched the release order of Cowboy Carter and Renaissance – here’s why

Beyoncé in a silver outfit while performing on the Renaissance tour.

Cowboy Carter, the long-awaited follow-up to Beyoncé’s Renaissance, is finally here. The music legend has now revealed that she was initially supposed to release Cowboy Carter first – this is why she changed her mind.

While the genre-blending, mammoth 27-track Cowboy Carter has long been dubbed the “Act II” to her 2022 dance record (and should-have-been Grammy Album of the Year) Renaissance, it turns out that the album was planned for release years before Renaissance was even made.

Speculation about how long Cowboy Carter has existed began when the 42-year-old superstar announced the album back in February, and released the first two singles, “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages”.

At the time, Beyoncé’s mother Tina Knowles wrote on Instagram that she had “loved this record for years,” and that she was “so happy” that the fans would finally get to hear it.

Then, earlier this month, when she shared the sleek, high-concept album artwork along with album’s title, Beyoncé confirmed that Cowboy Carter had “been over five years in the making”, and was born from an experience where she “did not feel welcomed”.

Fans believe the experience in question was the Country Music Awards in 2016, where she performed with country girl group The Chicks, and had to endure fierce backlash from country fans across America. Hence why Cowboy Carter is grounded in country music, with nods to Americana, blues, folk, soft-rock and more.

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Why did Beyoncé wait to release Cowboy Carter

Now, following the record’s release, Beyoncé has explained why Cowboy Carter had to stay in the vault for more than half a decade.

“This album took over five years,” the “Cuff It” singer said in a statement.

“It’s been really great to have the time and the grace to be able to take my time with it. I was initially going to put Cowboy Carter out first, but with the pandemic, there was too much heaviness in the world.

“We wanted to dance. We deserved to dance. But I had to trust God’s timing.”

Essentially, Beyoncé created Renaissance as a way to honour Black, queer, dance culture, but also to give her fans an album to celebrate the first post-pandemic summer of 2022.

As she said in the album’s lead single “Break My Soul”: “Worldwide hoodie with the mask outside, in case you forgot how we act outside.”

Though Renaissance was critically-acclaimed and heralded by her fans – the BeyHive – as her best album to date, Beyoncé is certain that she’s topped herself with Cowboy Carter.

“I think people are going to be surprised because I don’t think this music is what everyone expects, but it’s the best music I’ve ever made,” she shared.

Cowboy Carter is out now.

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